Choir Recruitment

Life as a Salisbury Cathedral Chorister

If your child enjoys singing, they may be interested in becoming a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral’s choristers represent centuries of musical heritage and are an integral part of worship at our Cathedral every day.

As a chorister, your child will practise and sing some of the most beautiful music ever written, at regular services at the Cathedral, as well as in concerts, on recordings and on tours.

As part of Salisbury Cathedral School, choristers benefit from an exceptional education, supported by the care and warmth of the incredible Cathedral School team. The School is based in the former Bishop’s Palace adjacent to the Cathedral.

Find out more about being a Chorister with the FAQs at the bottom of this webpage.

Find out more about life at Salisbury Cathedral School:

Salisbury Cathedral School

Voice Trials

2024 Voice Trial Dates

Girls’ Voice Trials: Saturday 20th January 2024 (for girls in Year 3, 4, 5)

Boys’ Voice Trials: Saturday 27th January 2024 (boys in Year 3, 4 or 5)

The individual voice trials are our audition process for selecting new choristers. Practically, they involve a short singing piece, aural tests and sight singing. However, we are always looking out for genuine enthusiasm and energy too.

We want all Chorister hopefuls to have every opportunity to prepare, so informal pre-auditions can be arranged throughout the year. We also run a voice trial workshop each year for children to get a feel for what to expect.

To enquire about a Voice Trial please email



Be a Chorister for a Day

The next Be a Chorister for a Day will be held on Saturday 12 October 2024.

Be a Chorister for a Day is a great opportunity for girls and boys in Years 2, 3 and 4 to gain first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral and the Cathedral School. This informal and fun day is ideal for any children who enjoy singing and are natural team players.

Parents and guardians are welcome too. While the children are rehearsing, they can discover what being a chorister parent entails and gather information about financial support available to prospective choristers.

The day ends with a special Evensong, led by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls, and performed by all the visiting children with the choristers.

For more information and to book a FREE place, please email

Virtual Chorister Tour

Join TV star (and former chorister) Alexander Armstrong and a few of our current choristers for a virtual tour of the Cathedral.

Prepare to discover fascinating facts, gruesome stories and quirky traditions as you learn about chorister life throughout the ages.

Virtual Chorister Tour at Salisbury Cathedral with Alexander Armstrong

Please note that this tour is best viewed using a computer or laptop.

The simplest way to navigate through the tour is to do so using the thumbnail images displayed at the bottom of the screen – you may find it helpful to zoom in or out by holding down your ‘Ctrl’ key and using your + and – keys if you have a keypad. 

Click below to launch the tour – make sure you click on the first thumbnail for the introduction video! 

FAQs about the Cathedral Choir

  • What are the benefits of being a chorister?

    Salisbury Cathedral’s choristers represent centuries of music making in one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the land. Choristers gain first-class training in choral music and enjoy some incredible experiences. In addition to singing at regular services in the Cathedral, they perform in concerts, go on tour and make recordings.

    They also benefit from an outstanding education at Salisbury Cathedral School, which is set in the tranquil grounds of the former Bishop’s Palace in the Cathedral Close. They develop key life skills that help shape their future and enjoy a range of extra-curricular activities while building life-long friendships and having lots of fun.

  • At what age do choristers join the Cathedral Choir?

    Choristers usually enter the Choir in Year 4 or Year 5 (ages 8 or 9), but this can vary and we welcome enquiries about entry in other years. Choristers leave the Choir at the end of Year 8 (13 years old).

  • Can any child apply to be a chorister?

    Yes. Singing duties are shared between boys’ and girls’ choirs, who alternate duties, usually singing with the adult Lay Vicars of the Choir. The shared duties allow free time for other activities and family time. Our choristers come from many different backgrounds and faiths.

  • When do Voice Trials (auditions) take place?

    Voice Trials (auditions) take place in January, for entry the following September, although we are happy to receive enquiries from parents of prospective choristers at any time of year.

  • What happens at a Voice Trial?

    A Voice Trial is an individual audition with the Director of Music. This includes singing a short piece (a song, hymn or carol of the child’s choice), aural tests (for example, singing back notes played on the piano) and a sight singing exercise. While musicality is important, we are also looking for genuine enthusiasm and energy. No prior vocal coaching is necessary.

    Informal pre-auditions with the Director of Music are available, and these can be useful in ascertaining whether your child might be suitable to apply for a Voice Trial.

  • Which year groups can apply for a Voice Trial?

    Voice Trials are open to pupils who are currently in Years 3, 4 or 5, but we welcome enquiries about entry in other years

  • What is ‘Be A Chorister For A Day’?

    ‘Be A Chorister For A Day’ takes place on a Saturday afternoon in October and is a free event where children (usually in Years 2, 3 and 4) and parents can find out more about the life of a chorister. With the Director of Music, children get to sing with the Cathedral Choir in a fun and relaxed way, meet and talk to the current choristers, while parents can find out more about the Cathedral School.

  • Does my child need to attend ‘Be A Chorister For A Day’ before applying for a Voice Trial?

    No, children don’t need to attend ‘Be A Chorister For A Day’ before applying, but many families have found it a helpful way to discover more and to find the answers to their questions.

  • Does my child require experience of singing in a choir?

    While some prior experience of singing in a choir can be helpful, it is absolutely not essential. We are looking for children who love to sing and have a level of musicality and team playing that can be developed.

  • What is the decision process?

    Following the Voice Trial in January, the Director of Music and colleagues meet to discuss the results. A decision is then made, based on musical ability. Parents are usually informed of decisions within 48 hours of the Voice Trial.

  • What if my child is unsuccessful?

    Sometimes a child may not gain a place at their first audition. In some cases parents may be advised to apply again the following year if the Director of Music believes they have musical ability and potential but aren’t quite ready to join the Choir.

  • Where are choristers educated?

    If the Voice Trial is successful, a chorister place is offered on the condition that the child becomes a pupil at Salisbury Cathedral School (if they are not there already) until the end of Year 8.

  • Do choristers receive a scholarship?

    Yes, every child you accepts a place as a chorister receives a scholarship to the School, comprising a 30% discount on day feels.

  • Is financial assistance available?

    Yes, some choristers receive financial assistance in addition to the discounted amount. This depends on family circumstances. To apply for this, you will be asked to provide information through a process of independent means testing.

    There are also external organisations that offer financial support, including the Choir Schools Association, Ouseley Church Music Trust, French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust and the Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation. Application to these organisations for support requires some planning ahead, but School staff can assist with this.

  • How do choristerships work?

    When a child joins the Choir, they do not begin with the full schedule straight away. They are introduced gradually as Probationers. During this time, they receive specialist musical and vocal training, attend Cathedral services and sing gradually more and more with the Cathedral Choir as the year progresses. The length of the probationary period is not fixed; it varies according to the age of the probationer and how quickly they learn the music. When they are ready, probationers are installed as full Choristers.

  • Do all choristers have to be boarders at the Cathedral School?

    No. Boarding is an option (and for many choristers this is all part of the experience) but boarding is not compulsory for choristers, some of whom live locally.

  • Can we visit the Cathedral School before applying for a Voice Trial?

    Yes. To arrange an informal visit th the School please email Jojo Orange on

  • How do I book a Voice Trial?

    If you are interested in finding out more, or booking a Voice Trial or pre-audition, please email Catherine Mitchell on

  • My child enjoys singing but can’t commit to becoming a full-time chorister. Are there other opportunities?

    Yes. In addition to the Cathedral Choir, there is a separate Junior Choir (ages 7-13) which meets on Saturday mornings during term time. It is free to join and no audition is required.

    There is also a Youth Choir (ages 13-18) which meets on Tuesday evenings during term time. This is also free to join.

    To find out more, please email Abigail Bray on